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New York Penal Code 155 25 Petit Larceny

By Spodek Law Group | July 17, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 15, 2023)

Last Updated on: 15th October 2023, 01:21 pm

What is Petit Larceny Under NY Penal Law 155.25?

New York Penal Law 155.25 states that “A person is guilty of petit larceny when he steals property”[3]. The key elements are:

  • Stealing Property: This means taking property belonging to someone else without permission, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property[4].
  • Value Under $1000: If the value of the property is $1000 or less, it is petit larceny. If over $1000, it becomes the more serious grand larceny[1].

Petit larceny does not require the stolen property to be taken from a person directly. It also includes stealing property through fraud, deception, or embezzlement[5].

Some examples of petit larceny:

  • Shoplifting items worth less than $1000 from a store
  • Taking packages off someone’s porch
  • Using a fake ID to buy cigarettes
  • Pocketing loose change you find on the ground
  • Failing to return a rented car on time
  • Embezzling less than $1000 from an employer

Defenses to Petit Larceny

There are several potential defenses if accused of petit larceny:

Lack of Intent

To be guilty, you must have intended to steal the property[4]. For example, accidentally leaving a store without paying is not petit larceny if there was no intent.

False Accusation

The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt you committed the crime. If there is lack of evidence, mistaken identity, or credibility issues with witnesses, you may be found not guilty.

Returned Goods

If you return or pay for goods very shortly after, it may show lack of intent to steal. However, concealment alone can constitute intent[1].

Value Dispute

You can argue the property’s value exceeds $1000, making it grand larceny instead of petit larceny. The prosecution must prove the value.

Mental Illness

Having a mental disability may be a mitigating factor leading to reduced charges or alternative sentencing.


Stealing due to an immediate threat or necessity (i.e. taking food if starving) may provide a legal defense.

Dealing with a petit larceny charge is stressful. But understanding your options, rights, and next steps can help ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Don’t hesitate to consult an attorney for guidance and legal representation.

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